Not sure what the distinction would be. Avionics are nothing more than electronics used in air and spacecraft, so given this is a space site the two tags seem a distinction without a difference.


2 Answers 2


While I agree that avionics are electronics, I can see how we could use both as separate tags. Questions tagged as might ask more about their function, while those tagged as about their operation. For example, if I had a question about SEU (single event upset), it might not necessarily be about avionics alone. And if I ask about CAS (collision avoidance systems) the question probably wouldn't be so much about electronics as it would be about their specific function.

But that's just my opinion, so let's rather see what questions we now have that support this assertion; First the questions tagged as that aren't also tagged with :

Quite many of these could also use , but crucially, not all of them. OK, it's still not clear. How about questions tagged as that supposedly aren't about :

OK, this set is a bit clearer, as expected. Some could still also use , but again not all, not even most.

Having in mind that tags in structure don't necessarily have to follow their academic lineage, and that they mainly serve the purpose of organizing contents and making them easier to find, it seems there's two options:

  • Create a tag synonym of , with latter being master of the former, or
  • Leave as is and let question authors decide if they want to use one, the other, or both

Since we only have 10 questions tagged as and 6 questions tagged as (and only one using both tags, yours posted a few minutes ago), I'm inclined to let them live independent lives for a bit longer and we see what makes sense later, as it becomes more apparent. Plus, that means I (or any other mod) don't have to do anything, which is also nice. How does that sound?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Tough to complain with that logic. While I would say all of the electronics articles avionics would work as well I am compelled by the argument that the purpose of tags is to be useful people searching and OPs. If people are using both with little overlap then perhaps both add value. $\endgroup$
    – Adam Wuerl
    Apr 11, 2015 at 1:59

"Avionics" are electronics systems that have mostly to do with the control of an aircraft, especially the HMI (human-machine interface), but the terminology doesn't usually extend to the context of a satellite or space probe, though you could include some of the TTC&C (Telemetry, Tracking & Command, Communication) Systems as well as the (ACS) Attitude Control System as having an avionics function.

However the "Electronics" tag would definitely include items like the electrical power system, attitude measurement sensors, payload instrumentation and control, eg transponders in a telecoms sat or instrumentation electronics eg cameras and scientific instruments in Landsat or New Horizons, TTC&C subsystems, and antennas.

Certainly there is no mention or explanation of the term "avionics" in any of the references that I've referred to below, and have at hand. Reference 4 includes the term "AIMS" = Avionics Integrated Modular System in a list appendix, but doesn't use the term anywhere in the book.

So I would say, in summary, that the term "electronics" is all-inclusive, whereas, "avionics" doesn't apply to spaceborne systems.


  1. Satellite Communications, Dennis Roddy, 4ed., McGraw-Hill, 2006
  2. Satellite Technology and its Applications, PRK Chetty, 2ed., TAB Books/McGraw-Hill, 1991
  3. Principles of Space Instrument Design, AM Cruise, JA Bowles, TJ Patrick, CV Goodall, Cambridge Uni Press, 1998
  4. Air and Spaceborne Radar Systems: An Introduction, Philippe Lacomme, Jean-Philippe Hardange, Jean-Claude Marchais, Eric Normant, translated from the French, William Andrew Publishing, 2001

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